Now Mrs RM is working in Melrose (her blog posts to follow, no doubt), I’m only allowed a couple of nights away from home a week. So occasional days have to be spent in and around Cambridge ferrying old folks (not a euphemism) about to Tesco and the Day Centre, and reminiscing about “The Old Days”.
By yesterday afternoon I was going stir crazy. So off we popped to Isleham, right on the very edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens,between horse racing and speedway and nothingness.
I only picked Isleham as I hadn’t been there for 15 years, which tells you all you need to know about its pubby credentials. And it’s practically a dead end, unless you swim the Lark or (don’t do this) head into West Row and thence Mildenhall.
As WhatPub shows, out here no-one can hear you scream. Or serve you a pint of Doom Bar. Which shows what fun Ely CAMRA have picking entries for the Guide. Any chance of a micro pub in Prickwillow ?
Isleham at 2pm on Wednesday is very, very quiet. Try to spot signs of life in these photos, which do at least illustrate some decent architectural flourishes.
You have to head for the Marina for life. That blue dot is me. I’ve changed appearance.
It’s a substantial riverside community that didn’t welcome visitors, or lure them in with a quirky pub. Or commemorate the spot round here where Spurgeon was baptised in the Lark.
The only facility is a vast metal wall of post boxes. Very Fens.
Unfortunately the only street art is typical Fens as well, and shows how well Isleham polices itself.
The panel next to it says “I love Victoria“. Who names their son Victoria ?
Still three pubs though. I actually couldn’t find the former-GBG Merry Monk in the drizzle, which shows how well it’s converted itself into a restaurant. The Rising Sun promises exciting beers, and taunts you with a light on at 2.30, but would you enter a pub with no customers 15 minutes before last orders ? Not today.
Which leaves the Griffin. Which looks very inviting indeed. But then I am very cold.
Outside the pub the Grimsby Fish man is delivering Haddock. If that doesn’t shout “Proper Pub” I don’t know what does. Have you ever seen the fish man outside a micro pub ?
Our American visitors would identify this as an attractive unspoilt village local. Smokers in the courtyard, half a dozen retired regulars hovered around the bar, no-one using the seating round the fire place. There wasn’t much drinking going on.
Pubs are about people, not beer, and I can recommend a trip here for the lively debate on East Anglian attractions.
Lady “What’s at Hunstanton ?”
Man 1 “It’s boring really”
Posh Man “Nice vistas”
Man 1 “Go to March or Chatteris”
American Man “Go to Hunny and freeze yer ass off and not see anything”
The American Man would have enjoyed meeting Dick and Dave, I feel.
The four (count ’em) pumps stand unloved round the corner, so at least I don’t have to squeeze through folk seated at the bar, who are propping up the 1664 sales.
I see Woodfordes Wherry and a seasonal, Ghost Ship and then suddenly Plain. I ask for “a pint of Plain“. The regulars look at me suspiciously.
When a pub puts on a beer from a small brewery like Plain, it can mean they have an interest in beer. When you then see it’s a novelty beer called “The Wife’s Bitter“, all become clear.
So I broke all the rules by buying a sexist beer, but I didn’t know. Anyway, it was sharp and dreadful, and I fear it wasn’t even the bottom of the barrel.
I wasn’t taking it back.
I didn’t venture in the loos for you this time, but I know how much Dick and Dave love sweet machines in English pubs. Some of those have been there since 1999.
Oh, and if you go in the Co-Op you’ll find a nice lady from Rossendale, appropriately.